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A Student’s Epiphany…

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I have students who drive quite a distance to study with me–a fact I find speaks more to their dedication to the dance than any special skill I have in my teaching bag of tricks. A handful drive as much as an hour and a half to come to class every week, and I just want to squeeze the bejeezus out of them for their commitment and enthusiasm! Kat is one such student, and is even more remarkable than most. Not only does she drive so far (often alone now that some of her friends she used to commute with have conflicts and can’t come to class each week any longer); but she has overcome some incredible struggles with her health as well, culminating in a kidney transplant about a year ago, from which she is recovering beautifully and is healthier and stronger than ever, I am pleased to report! Combined with many dance and life commitments in her own town, I don’t get to see her as often as I used to, which is our loss. Kat has an incredible energy that everyone in the room can feel–to meet Kat is to love her, truly–always with a smile, a positive word, a hug, a laugh.
This fall she has been making an effort to come to class again with more regularity, which continues to be a struggle, which is completely understandable. This last week she came after a few weeks away, and a couple days later I received this message from her. I was moved to tears by her words, which is the kind of epiphany all we teachers wish our students could arrive at. I thought some fellow dancers and teachers might appreciate the astute observations Kat made about her class experience this past week, about the importance of intention and being fully present in your practice. I asked her permission to share this with you, and she enthusiastically agreed. So here is the letter that completely made my day…really made my teaching year! I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on this as well, so please feel free to write or comment.

Your class this Monday was meditation to me. I left there with a whole new appreciation and perspective about classes. I realize how precious it is to be there. I saw more than ever all that I lose when I can’t make it…

It’s more than just being there, it’s what comes with me when I leave. I’ve always known that class was important, I just didn’t realize till now HOW. Moves I’ve known like the Circle Step (that I’ve done more times than I can count) took on a whole new life to me. You broke it down and made it rich. It wasn’t just a move, it demanded thought. My mind and my body fused~and I realized that every time I’ve done a move/combo without my brain involved, the movement lost it’s purpose. Dance is a language and if the movement has no intention, no purpose, then it’s like saying stuff without saying anything at all.

I spent all day yesterday going through all the moves/combos I know and did them one by one with awareness~and I saw that with each move I did, I didn’t have as good of a relationship with them as I thought. My body is sore from it, and my mind is much more excited and awake.

You teach much more than just moves~ you’re teaching energy, awareness, and connection. Thank you for peeling my eyelids up so I can really look at myself…I needed & wanted to see this truth about myself and my dance.



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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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    Meow!! Gotta love that Kat. She’s awesome.

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